A rare underglaze-red painted ‘floral’ dish, Ming dynasty, Hongwu period

Lot 14. A rare underglaze-red painted ‘floral’ dish, Ming dynasty, Hongwu period (1368-1398). Estimate HK$500,000 — 700,000 (€58,472 - 81,860). Lot Sold 1,750,000 HKD (197,560 EUR)Photo Sotheby's.

the shallow curved sides rising from a short foot to a wide everted rim, painted in greyish copper-red with a central medallion enclosing a chrysanthemum spray with three small buds, encircled by an undulating peony scroll with six blooms alternately shown in profile and en face, bordered by a keyfret band at the rim, the exterior painted with petal lappets radiating from the foot, the unglazed base covered with a dressing fired to bright orange - 19.6 cm, 7 3/4  in.

ProvenanceJohn Sparks Ltd, London, 1967.
Collection of Roger Pilkington (1928-69), from 1967 (£2000).

BibliographyAdrian Joseph, Ming Porcelains: Their Origins and Development, London, 1971, pl. 18.

NoteAfter the bold and powerful porcelain style of the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), the early Ming period (1368-1644) is characterised by more formalised and orderly shapes and designs. The present piece with its sharp and precise form, even undulating flower scroll and formal key-fret border embodies both the well calibrated, often mould-made shapes and the meticulously designed patterns of the period. Also typical is the increased replacement of cobalt, which had become rare due to trade restrictions, with copper, which on the present piece took on a characteristic soft red colour. The potters’ difficulties of firing the copper successfully are impressively documented by several porcelains from this period, which were preserved even though the copper pigment has resulted in uneven spotty designs.

Another copper-red dish of this design from the Meiyintang collection, illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994-2010, vol. 4, no. 1625, was sold in these rooms, 16th May 1989, lot 118 and at Christie’s Hong Kong, 1st/3rd May 1994, lot 626; one from the collections of H.F. Parfitt and R.H.R. Palmer was sold in our London rooms, 8th February 1946, lot 40, and 27th November 1962, lot 15; a third, included in the exhibition Chinese Art under the Mongols. The Yüan Dynasty (1279-1368), The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, 1968, cat. no. 175, was sold in our London rooms, 5th July 1977, lot 229. Compare also a dish with the flowers arranged the opposite way, with a chrysanthemum scroll encircling a peony spray, from the collection of Edward T. Chow, sold in these rooms, 19th May 1981, lot 448.

Sotheby's. The Pilkington Collection of Chinese Art, Hong Kong, 06 avr. 2016, 10:00 AM